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I would recommend that if you did not catch the Crane first time round, you work darn hard to catch the re runs.
Contributor Lindac 5 seems to have an excellent memory of this program; far better than mine at any rate.
It was unusual because Crane was indeed a British criminal expat and yet he was presented as the tacit hero of the program. He wasn't always successful, but at least he never got caught. Presumably, the authorities of the day thought that breaking the smuggling laws in some exotic African state was fun and fair game. Whereas one can't help thinking that a Crane who practiced his art against British Customs and Excise would have been presented in a much less glamorous way. And Neither would he have been seen to get away with his crimes.
Still, it was jolly good fun.
He ran a legitimate cafe/nightclub as a cover for his improprieties, in a way that was probably lifted from those old Humphrey Bogart films like Sirocco and Casabalanca. He had a glamorous young girl who danced and served the bar, and would today be seen to provide other services after the 9 o-clock watershed.
When you stop to consider the limited production budgets, I'm not so sure that the program was actually filmed on location in Morocco. Crane's cafe and environs had a very studio sound and appearance, as did Mahmoud's police station. Most of the nefarious activities took place at night and might as easily have been on Canvay Island. The few long shots of 'Morocco' could likewise have been anywhere in North Africa, and I never saw the actors actually filmed in these locations. I suspect they were just archive out-takes from other programs and newsreels. But what the hell?
One other thing; I thought the program ran for at least two series - early black and white and later colour. The early series had a theme music that was entirely instrumental. It had a swirling, exotic rhythm that immediately conjured-up images of belly-dancing and may well have been authentic - for some odd reason I have it entirely memorised. Later, it was replaced by a theme with slightly more 'westernised' riffs, and a male singer extolling the artfulness of 'Crane, crane, crane' which was chanted as a chorus.
I guess it would seem pretty stagy and tame today.
The lantern-jawed Patrick Allen had been in several low-budget movies - and after the success of "Crane", became Britain's top ad voice-over artist, before handing the crown to Bill Mitchell. In the Seventies, I briefly (separately) met Patrick Allen AND Bill Mitchell - oh, those VOICES!
But aside from Allen, the vivacious Laya Raki and smooth Gerald Flood, there was then-popular character actor Sam Kydd as "Croker", Crane's sidekick. And "Crane" almost proved to be his undoing...
The scene was one where Croker was bound and gagged, all ready to be rescued by the craggy Crane. He was SUPPOSED to be struggling to free himself, but what nobody realised was that his false teeth had become dislodged, were working their way down his throat and he was actually slowly CHOKING TO DEATH.
Luckily someone noticed that Sam appeared to be acting a little TOO convincingly, and he was brought round just as he was figuring the rushing in his ears was the last thing he'd ever hear...
All of which is why there are now SAFEGUARDS in place so that actors who are SUPPOSED to be in trouble can SIGNAL if they actually ARE!
There is loads of stuff out there in old TV land that would be great fun to see again. Programmes like Adam Adamant, the dreadful Nationwide, really old Corrie, etc etc. I am a member of the original TV generation when there was an innocence about TV and can remember all sorts of rubbish!
I remember Crane (or crumple clock as Pater called him) as a daring rogue battling against swarthy foreign officialdom. Great!
Patrick Allen also did the Voice over for the government nuclear warning film so his voice might have been the last one we ever heard!